Badly burned body found in home fire identified

News Briefs From Across The State

By Monica Land

Body found in a bedroom

Authorities said the completely burned body found in a home on Mill Street Extension in George County after a fire was that of 67-year-old Gaylen Walker, said George County Sheriff's spokesperson Shonna Pierce.

The George County man was found dead in a bedroom Thursday, Aug. 2.

According to Pierce, identifying Walker was difficult because his body was burned so badly. Officials even had trouble determining if the body was male or female.

“He didn't have any dental records in the State of Mississippi,” Pierce said. “So the only way we could identify him was through DNA. We had to locate the nearest family member to get it.”

The nearest family member was Walker's brother Terry Walker, who lives in Ohio. Pierce said their DNA matched 99.6 percent.

The cause of the fire still remains under investigation and results from the autopsy aren't being released yet. Walker reportedly lived alone.

Harrison County man drowns in pond

A Harrison County man is dead after drowning in a pond Saturday, according to Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove.

Sheriff's deputies were called out to a property near the intersection of Highway 67 and 605 around 6 p.m.

Hargrove said, Rayburn Broadus Sr., 67, was using a front-end loader earlier in the day, to work on the pond dam. The dam broke suddenly and took the tractor underwater.

Broadus' family discovered him later that evening, but he was already dead, said authorities.

Fayette woman killed in accident

A 40-year-old Jefferson County woman died in a one-vehicle accident on Mississippi 553.

The Natchez Democrat reported Tabatha F. Davis of Fayette, was driving north on the highway when her SUV ran off the roadway, flipped over and hit a tree.

A Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman says Davis was ejected from the vehicle.

The accident occurred around 2:42 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, just north of Fayette.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Ex-Superintendent to receive $175K in back pay

Lynn Wright

Lowndes County School District Superintendent Lynn Wright has been awarded about $175,000 in back pay following the conclusion of his 2011 lawsuit against the district.

The Commercial Dispatch reported that the lawsuit arises from his firing as principal of New Hope High School.

Wright was fired by the Lowndes County School District's Board of Trustees in 2010 for his purported role in New Hope baseball coach Stacy Hester's purchase of a $15,000 lawn mower.

Both filed lawsuits against the district in October 2011.

In May, Lowndes County Chancery Court Judge Dorothy Colom ruled Wright was wrongfully terminated. On July 24, Colom ruled that because Wright is now district superintendent, reinstatement is not possible, so he must be given back pay, based upon his lost income and benefits.

UMC gets $500,000 award for AIDS healthcare

Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said that the United States Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a grant to University of Mississippi Medical Center for an AIDS program.

The $510,480 grant will go to the Ryan White Title IV Women, Infants, Children, Youth and Affected Family Members AIDS Healthcare program.